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Hollywood and the Great DepressionAmerican Film, Politics and Society in the 1930s$
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Iwan Morgan and Philip John Davies

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699926

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699926.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Columbia Pictures and the Great Depression: A Case Study of Political Writers in Hollywood

Columbia Pictures and the Great Depression: A Case Study of Political Writers in Hollywood

Chapter:
(p.49) Chapter 2 Columbia Pictures and the Great Depression: A Case Study of Political Writers in Hollywood
Source:
Hollywood and the Great Depression
Author(s):

Ian Scott

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699926.003.0003

This analyses the largely neglected and underestimated role of screen writers in 1930s Hollywood, an era when the art of movie writing actually made great strides as an art form. It considers the significance of three Columbia writers – Sidney Buchman, Robert Riskin, and Jo Swerling, why they were able to flourish at this small studio with the support of mogul Harry Cohn, and their role in the making of Frank Capra’s populist classics – notably Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939). It examines how these scribes responded to the Great Depression not only by becoming active in the newly-formed Screen Writers Guild but also in writing scripts that injected populist values into the Capra movies as well as seemingly non-political comedy films like Platinum Blonde (1931) and Theodora Goes Wild (1935).

Keywords:   Columbia Pictures, Screenwriters, Sidney Buchman, Robert Riskin, Jo Swerling

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